WINCHESTER — Citizen suggestions from a latest neighborhood survey was on the coronary heart of Metropolis Council’s annual daylong retreat Friday on the Struggle Memorial Constructing in Jim Barnett Park.
The retreat, which gave the nine-member council a possibility to examine the Winchester they hope to see over the subsequent 50 years, was additionally attended by almost each division head in Rouss Metropolis Corridor.
Metropolis Supervisor Dan Hoffman mentioned the neighborhood survey obtained 460 responses. “That’s a reasonably good pattern for a metropolis our measurement.”
Based mostly on the survey outcomes, it seems the vast majority of Winchester residents are usually proud of the town and its development, however there are nonetheless a number of areas of concern:
72% of residents say the dearth of inexpensive housing is a major problem.
78% say it is very important handle the deteriorating situation of older strip malls, notably Ward Plaza on Valley Avenue.
Solely 25% say the town is straightforward to navigate on a bicycle.
A big however unspecified quantity say Winchester wants at the least another grocery retailer.
Whereas 82% say it’s straightforward to reside a wholesome way of life within the metropolis, solely 35% say Winchester does job serving to to make sure wholesome youngsters and households.
Solely 18% say it’s straightforward to get round city utilizing WinTran bus providers.
General, Hoffman mentioned, the highest issues of residents in all 4 of Winchester’s wards are tied to financial improvement and revitalization efforts. Whereas 52% of survey contributors mentioned they’re happy with the town’s enterprise and employment alternatives, one other 35% say they’re impartial on the topic. That equates to an anemic outlook for the native job market.
One other troubling response within the survey, Hoffman mentioned, was that 51% of residents really feel Winchester doesn’t have an modern metropolis authorities.
“Evidently they suppose that we’re not maintaining,” Hoffman informed the retreat contributors.
However the constructive responses within the survey far outweighed the detrimental ones:
68% of survey respondents say Winchester is poised to make a powerful restoration from the financial setbacks of the COVID-19 pandemic.
75% say they’re happy with present Parks and Recreation packages.
74% say metropolis authorities amenities are prime quality.
83% say it’s straightforward to get round Winchester by automotive, and two-thirds of survey contributors really feel the town is well walkable.
82% say they really feel secure within the metropolis, and 77% gave very excessive favorability scores to the Winchester Police Division.
75% say they’re happy with the town authorities’s transparency.
57% say the town operates effectively, and 70% say the native authorities does job speaking with residents.
88% say they’re proud to be residents of Winchester, and 76% say there’s a sturdy sense of neighborhood all through the town.
Councilor Evan Clark mentioned the survey outcomes mirror that Winchester is an effective place to reside and work.
“We have now a number of the belongings you need, and we don’t have a number of the belongings you don’t need,” Clark mentioned.
Councilor Richard Bell wished to know if there could be followup surveys to gauge how nicely metropolis officers are doing in relation to addressing issues and enhancing the lives of Winchester’s roughly 28,000 residents.
“There will likely be another plans that hyperlink to and comply with up on this,” Hoffman mentioned. “We’ll ask these questions once more sooner or later. It is a baseline.”
Attending Friday’s Metropolis Council retreat within the Struggle Memorial Constructing have been Mayor and council President David Smith, Vice President Kim Herbstritt and members Judy McKiernan, Evan Clark, Les Veach, Corey Sullivan, Richard Bell and Phillip Milstead. Vice Mayor John Hill arrived 90 minutes late.